A week into the trial in Fairfax County, Virginia, Depp, 58, is the first half of the divorced couple to take the stand and testify against his former spouse.
Depp is suing Heard, 35, for $50 million, alleging she defamed him in an opinion column published in The Washington Post (which is printed in Fairfax County) in December 2018. In the column, she claimed to be a victim of domestic abuse.
Depp opened his testimony Tuesday by calling Heard’s Washington Post story “heinous,” adding, “I never struck Ms. Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any women in my life.”
Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel trial:Everything that has happened in the trial (so far)
In terms of Heard, Depp said she seemed “too good to be true” at the beginning of their relationship.
“She was attentive,” Depp said of the woman he married in 2015. “She was loving. She was smart. She was kind. She she was funny. She was understanding. … We had many things in common, certain blues music … literature.”
But Depp said that within a year and a half, it was as if Heard had become another person.
He went on to say that he is taking the stand to prove her claims have “no truth to it whatsoever” and because he feels a responsibility to “stand up for my children,” referring to daughter Lily-Rose, 22, and son Jack Depp, 20.
“I thought it was diabolical that my children would have to go to school, have their friends or people in the school approach them with the infamous People magazine cover with Ms. Heard with a dark bruise on her face,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star said. “I didn’t deserve that nor did my children nor did the people who have believed in me for all those years.”
Alluding to the fall his career has taken since Heard levied abuse allegations against him, the former “Pirates of the Caribbean” star said, “it’s been six years of trying times. It’s very strange when one day you’re Cinderella, so to speak , and then in 0.6 seconds you’re Quasimodo.”
Depp continued in his testimony by discussing the physical and emotional abuse he, his siblings, and his father suffered from his mother — something his sister Christi Dembrowski testified to on April 12.
Opening statements from Depp and Heard‘s attorneys on April 12 set the tone for a hostile fight.
“You’re going to see who the real Johnny Depp is — behind the fame, behind the pirate costumes,” Heard lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn told the jury during opening statements in the civil trial on April 12. “Because Johnny Depp brought this case, all of this is going to come out.”
Rottenborn said the evidence will show that Depp physically and sexually assaulted Heard on multiple occasions.
He argued that Heard was exercising her First Amendment rights as an advocate when she wrote the article, which focused largely on the broad topic of domestic violence. He also pointed out that the article in question never even mentions Depp’s name of her.
Heard first raised the domestic violence claim during her corrosive divorce proceeding with Depp in 2016 in Los Angeles. Heard never proved she was abused because their divorce was settled out of court in the midst of a median uproar. And the settlement statement they jointly issued said in part: “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any attempt of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future.”
On Depp’s behalf, his co-counsel Camille Vasquez said, “You’re going to learn that (Heard) is a profoundly troubled person who manipulated people around her, like she manipulated Mr. Depp.”
Depp’s attorney Benjamin Chew said the case is about how devastating words can be when uttered publicly. “They can cause irreparable harm to someone’s reputation, and when your career depends on your reputation that harm can be particularly devastating,” he said.
Chew said she showed up at the courthouse on May 27 of that year with a bruise on her face that was photographed by the paparazzi. But he said the evidence will show that Heard gave herself the injury to ruin Depp’s reputation.
‘Fantastic Beasts’:Mads Mikkelsen talks replacing Johnny Depp
Another of Depp’s lawyers, Camille Vasquez, told the jury that Heard refuses to admit she lied and has now dug in even deeper.
“She can’t back down. Ella she has been living and breathing this lie for years, ”Vasquez said. “Ella She’s going to give the performance of a lifetime in this courtroom.”
Contributing: Maria Puente, USA TODAY; Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism